HOW TO STRENGTHEN YOUR SALON BUSINESS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
BY Nina Zoukelman
By now, your salon business has either slowed down substantially due to social distancing, or closed due to pandemic restrictions in your state. And with real health concerns, it’s hard to see the silver lining. We’d like to say there is one. During the year, there are so many things you want to do for your business, and can’t get around to doing, because you’re too busy. While this situation isn’t easy for salon owners, or for anyone else, you could use this to invest in the future of your salon and strengthen your salon business during the coronavirus crisis. Because this too shall pass.
Remember SARS virus? Remember Zika virus? Hell, remember 9/11? We weathered through it all. We will overcome this too. And when we do, wouldn’t it be amazing if your business could hit the ground running?
Use this time to invest in the future of your business. In this post we will show you how to improve your salon marketing infrastructure. So that when things go back to normal — and they will — you’ll be better positioned for success.
1. GIVE CUSTOMERS HOPE: LET THEM BOOK ONLINE NOW FOR THE DAY AFTER COVID-19
You know how terrible stress is both for the skin and the hair. Well, your clients are stressing out at home right now. Give them hope for the day after COVID-19. Allow them to book you online now for the day after.
Reaching out to your customers and saying hey, we now have online booking, will give them hope that our normal lives are just around the corner.
To encourage bookings, you could offer a discount to those who do their post-coronavirus booking now. After all, there’s no doubt we’re all going to need to visit our hair salon and beauty salon the moment this is over ;D
And what if the date they make is canceled due to pandemic restrictions? Well, if you choose a good online booking tool, there will be no problem sending cancellation messages to everyone and letting them book a new date.
It’s important to note that adding online booking to your site is even more essential for normal times. 46% of bookings take place outside of salon working hours. Which means online booking can generate a huge increase in your sales once things are back to normal. It’s a great way to strengthen your salon business during the coronavirus crisis AND ensure that once things go back to normal, your calendar will be booked solid.
2. CHANNEL YOUR CREATIVITY INTO BUILDING THE WEBSITE YOU’VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF
The coronavirus outbreak is undoubtedly a stressful situation for salon owners, as it is for everyone. But it also allows you to have free time that can be channeled to creativity. So sure, you can channel it to embroidery, baking, painting or dancing. But you could also use it to build that website you’ve always dreamed of.
Did you know that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if it’s unattractive? This is why it’s so important to have a professional-looking and beautiful website.
And while what most businesses don’t have right now is extra money, what at least some of us have right now is extra time. Use this extra time to do that website-makeover you dream of all year.
To get it right, ask yourselves these questions:
- Do I need a new website? To answer this, break it down into these helpful questions: Does my website look fresh? Is it in line with my brand? Is it slow or fast? Does it have everything I need, like online booking, integration with my Facebook, Instagram and Google My Business? Is the Contact Us functional? List the questions and answers to know where you stand.
- Can I update my website myself? This is very important. If you hired a web-developer and a web designer to build your site, then you depend on their availability to improve it. And you’ll also need to pay them again. If that’s the case, then you should strongly consider moving to a self-service DIY site-builder.
If you have time, go ahead and compare a few website builders. Choose the one that best fits your salon needs. Look for a tool that offers not only beauty, but also higher customer engagement. Make sure it offers online booking, a built-in CRM, review management and marketing campaigns. Build yourself a new website that you’ll love. This way, you’ll be able to update your website whenever you want.
If you already have a DIY website — move on to the next step.
- Is my web content up to date? Now is a good time to review all the content on your site and make sure it’s accurate and updated. Go over your service list. Product catalog. Team members. Your story. Your mission statement. Photo gallery. Videos. Pay special attention to your opening hours (in normal times) and contact details.
Once you’re done reviewing, delete the content that is no longer relevant. Rewrite the parts that needed updating. And add the altogether missing parts.
- COVID-19 announcement: Your relationship with your customers is your biggest asset. Don’t miss an opportunity to communicate with them. Add a special announcement to your homepage. Tell your customers that you’re thinking about them during these times. You can offer a special discount on products if you do deliveries. Or on booking a future appointment. Be sure to tell your clients where they can follow you and how to reach you at this time.
3. SECRET SHORTCUT TO A 23% INCREASE IN REVENUE IN THE POST-CORONAVIRUS DAYS
Consistency is key for any brand that wants to stand out and be remembered. This is backed by data: Presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. By consistency we mean ensuring that you have the same business-name, same logo, same color scheme, same visual elements and messaging across all your channels: your website, social media channels, Google My Business and of course – in the salon or spa itself.
You cans strengthen your salon business by using this time to go over all of your channels. Make sure your brand comes across clearly and coherently, with the same language and visual elements on all channels. Change whatever needs changing. When this coronavirus outbreak is over, your brand will look amazing. To learn more about brand consistency, visit our blog post on setting your salon apart.
4. REPLACE SOCIAL DISTANCING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA CLOSENESS
Relationships are key to your business. But having to shut down and maintain social distancing is a big obstacle in the way of relationships. Social media is the answer to staying in touch with your customers right now – and it’s a great way to strengthen your salon business during the coronavirus crisis. But it’s also important in normal times.
Did you know, for example, that 58% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media? This means it’s always a channel that’s worth your attention. However, now, it’s an absolute must. Start by making sure your social media accounts are effective and represent your business well. Here’s how:
- Invest in what works: All your social channels offer some stats and insights. Go over them. See which one is generating the most engagement. Are your customers using Facebook to book? Or are clients rolling in saying “I saw this color you did on Instagram and I wanted the same?” Where are customers leaving you the best reviews?
Maintaining social channels takes a lot of time. See which one works for you, and invest in that one. You don’t have to delete the others, but keep your activity there to a minimum.
Just make sure all the channels show your correct name, logo, contact details and opening hours. Make sure you communicate which is the right channel to contact you for a speedy response.
- Shoot for the stars: If you really want to step up your game, build a social content plan. Check the analytics section to figure out which types of content get the most likes and comments and create a plan that highlights those types of content. You might find out that your followers prefer funny videos, or images of gorgeous nails, or maybe meditation and relaxation tips. You can use this time to find or create more engaging content that will get you more likes and followers. Then you can place these pieces of content inside a calendar, so you don’t have to start each day by thinking what to post today. You can integrate holidays and national days into that calendar, so you can share a Happy Valentine’s greeting on February 14 or a coupon for Black Friday on November 17.
- Sharing is caring: We know you really and deeply care about your customers. They need to know it too. Share some secrets with them. Post some DIY advice and How To’s: How to keep healthy hair. How to meditate at home. How to create a nail pattern using only your nail polish brush. Reach out to your followers, and ask them which content they would find helpful. Listening and engaging with your followers is always wise, and even more so in these complex times.